Says images on small buses have no resemblance to ‘Two Leaves’

Transport Minister Senthil Balaji on Monday told the Assembly that the images painted on the small buses bore no resemblance to the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol of the AIADMK.

Rejecting the allegations of the DMK members, the Minister said the symbol had deeply been embedded in the minds of the people since 1972 and there was no need for the AIADMK to seek publicity for the symbol by painting it on small buses.

“The images, representing greenery, have been painted to give a pleasing look,” he said after the DMK members, who staged a sit-in protest in the well of the Assembly, were evicted.

Mr. Balaji said the DMK members had raised the issue because they could not digest the popularity of the small buses among the people. Over a lakh of people travelled in the buses in the last five days.

The DMK staged a protest after Municipal Administration Minister K.P. Munusamy criticised E.V. Velu, who along with the DMK members, took exception to Republican Party of India (RPI) member C.K. Tamilarasan’s remarks against them.

“You have no right to talk about two leaves symbol that gave you an identity in politics,” Mr. Munusamy said.

His remarks led to a war-of-words between the Minister and the DMK members, who wanted Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal to expunge, what they called, “unparliamentary words.”

Even as both sides exchanged arguments, Finance Minister and leader of the House O. Panneerselvam said Mr. Velu, a bus conductor by profession, could make it big in politics because of AIADMK founder MGR and two leaves symbols.

Again the DMK members demanded expunction of his remarks and at one point the members, including S.S. Sivasankar, rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans. The Speaker ordered their eviction.

Earlier, Mr. Tamilarasan said leaves had medicinal value and even North India was waiting for the medicine. DMK legislative party leader M.K Stalin told reporters that his party was not given an opportunity to record their views on small buses and the emblem painted on them.

“Bur Mr. Tamilarasan was allowed to speak. The Minister made a speech as if a conductor job is unacceptable in the society. Even actor Rajinikanth was a conductor,” he said.